09 March, 2015

It Came from Canadia

To quote many of Keanu Reeves' best on-screen moments of dialogue, "Woah".

It would not be accurate to say that Hilary term has been kicking my posterior.  Rather, the effect that term has had on me has been altogether something worse.  Some terms are fun, some terms are bustling, some terms are exciting - this term has been the academic equivalent of experiencing "enhanced interrogation techniques".

I have been ill with a nondescript, irritating, wet-blanket of a condition for a period of approximately two weeks, with no sign of improvement.  The body simply cannot heal itself if you spend your time running around all day, from 6.30 a.m. to 9 p.m., without breaks.  Every.  Single.  Day.

So, at the end of 6th week, I methunk "enough is enough", and decided to have a day off.  Meetings cancelled; lecture cancelled; supervisions cancelled; tutorials cancelled; dinner cancelled.  I just stayed in bed, perspiring quietly to myself for around 24 hours.

It worked wonderfully.


The next day, I was feeling as kosher as Christmas.

To celebrate, I busted out an attractive-looking parcel recently received as a generous gift from Jalam Teas.  In Canadia, even the postal stamps are pretty.

I don't know much about Jalam Teas, but I do know that they are run by Jeff Fuchs, and I recall making an unfair joke at the expense of his name in an article some months ago, which now eludes me.  I think that Mr. Fuchs (ahem) is a photographer - the parcel from his company came with a card alluding to that fact, and which was backed with a stylish picture of a Hani minority female.  The whole enterprise is "slick" in appearance, which is to say carefully professional.

Edit: "some months ago" is, it seems last year: "Nothing More to Laos"

Expecting a sample of something expensive, I was amazed to find a xiaobing inside, the price of which is actually extremely reasonable (something like $20 to "members" - but I think that "members" are posted a cake of this as part of a monthly arrangement).

Already, I am feeling good about Jalam - the prospect of decent-looking xiaobing being sold for a reasonable price immediately endears itself to my sense of fair play.

...and look good this xiaobing certainly does.  It has been made from Bangpen leaves (translated as "Bang Pun" in the non-pinyin text), which comes from the Bulangshan region, and where those leaves have been preserved very nicely indeed.  We have large, long leaves on offer, which have been loosely compressed into a tidy little 100g cake.

This cake has the clean, uncompromising bitterness that I have come to appreciate from the greater Bulang zone, and yet it is a summer harvest: these are notoriously "accessible" affairs - the kind of thing that you might give to someone so as not to offend them - and yet the result, here, is very welcome.  It consists of a pollenated, heavy summertime characteristic that works rather well, combined with the good ol' Bulang punishment.

Perhaps this is the stuff teaclubs are made of: shupu and easy-going shengpu, so as not to terrify the median tea-drinker.  However, the result is so nicely made, and so very interesting, that I am rather impressed for the "drink-it-now" capability that such a teaclub must surely provide.

If you're rushed for time, and are in the market for decent, "curated" samples, then Jalam seems (on the strength of this one cake, and its pricing) to be worth a second look.

Ironically, I'm a little too rushed for time to be a member of such a club, as my drinking occurs so randomly.  However, when recovering from rush-induced bugs, I found this Bangpen Xiaobing to be packed with summertime drink-it-now charm.  If you like summer teas, or pollenated teas, this might be worth a random sample.

Beijing raindrop
even you cannot wash away
the traveller's cold

1 comment:

Hobbes said...

Beijing raindrops - they are surprisingly uncommon and, when they do appear, they are unsurprisingly dirty. When travelling to dusty, polluted, wonderful Beijing (one of my favourite cities on Earth, despite the pollution), acquiring a cold is almost guaranteed. Perhaps it is merely my immune system fighting with unusually high concentrations of invading bugs. It is a small price to pay for being in such a fascinating and genuinely exciting place - more than anywhere on Earth, it feels that anything is possible in Beijing.